Barrington takes top honors at Dundee-Crown
For nearly the entire day Stevenson kept Barrington under pressure but in the end it wasn't enough.
Barrington won its third wrestling regional title in four years, running away from the Patriots with a strong final session to lift the championship trophy in Carpentersville at the Class 3A Dundee-Crown regional.
The Broncos will advance into the McHenry dual-team sectional on February 19 to face Libertyville, champions of its own regional on Saturday, after its 38-point (209.5 to 171.5) advantage when the day was over.
"This was a very good regional beginning with Stevenson, which is always a tough opponent to face," said Broncos' coach Dave Udchik.
"We went six-for-seven in the finals, three out of three in the blood round, and were able to get 17 pins and plenty of bonus points which is the way to win tournaments."
Things were a little dicey for the eventual champs after they watched Stevenson open up on its front foot with an impressive first round, only to see its 58-47 advantage do a 180 in favor of the Broncos, who took the lead for good (156-120) just after the hour mark.
"We came out confident and with a purpose against plenty of high level opponents and their teams but we came up a little short in the second round, and found ourselves chasing Barrington the rest of the way," admitted Stevenson coach Shane Cook, who for the second consecutive year saw his team's trophy chase end against another club from the Mid-Suburban League after Prospect outscored the Patriots last season.
Udchik said key victories from freshman Brian Beers (35-7) at 106, Cael Dyer (126, 36-10) and Kai Conway (34-7) at 145 were just what the doctor ordered as this trio likely dashed the hopes of a large contingent of Stevenson fans who stayed until the end to cheer on their team.
Conway's 7-3 win over John Ridle (Jacobs, 30-7) avenged an early pasting (15-5) by Ridle, who entered the weekend as the No. 4 rated 145-pounder in the state.
"I watched a lot of film of that match over and over again, so I felt real good about the game plan going into this final," said Conway, who like all other regional champions will receive a first-round bye on the first day of sectionals at Barrington next Friday.
Jake Harrier (37-1), a teammate of Ridle, along with No. 1 Luke Rasmussen (Barrington, 160, 39-2) were easily the two most impressive wrestlers during the day, smashing one after another on their way to their second straight regional titles.
Harrier, No. 6 at 132 in the state, turned in a magnificent performance, ending with his technical fall in the finals.
"Today I really feel like I put it all together, I felt great on my feet, and attacked from the opening whistle all the time trying my best to get six good minutes of wrestling in each of my three matches," said Harrier, who is on course to meet No. 2 Danny Pucino of Libertyville in his sectional final, with a chance to avenge his lone defeat on the season.
Harrier and his teammates were third in the team race with 147.5 points.
Rasmussen, for the second consecutive postseason tournament, pinned his way to a championship trophy, needing just over two minutes (2:10) to complete another clean sweep.
"Winning an individual title here is great, but so is having the team do so as well," offered the Broncos junior. "This team is so close, and everyone has worked hard to win this regional to advance into dual-team sectionals."
Teammates, and first-year full time starters, Jack Hartman (182, 34-7) and Dayven Shinhoster (195, 32-7), earned the last two regional titles for the Broncos, for both the first of their careers.
Runner-up Stevenson, which will send eight into sectionals next week, would celebrate just one individual champion, that coming from senior Tommy Frezza, who won for the second consecutive year in style.
Last season, the two-time state qualifier and 2018 state medal winner recorded a fall in his regional final at Glenbrook South. Saturday, the Pats' star did so with a 14-4 major.
"It's always great to win a regional title, but there is a much bigger prize I am after, beginning with sectionals, then state, but right now it's all about concentrating on my first match at sectionals," said Frezza, now 33-3 overall.
Lake Zurich, which finished just one point behind Cary-Grove (114-113), celebrated a pair of championship victories; Cary-Grove one from Ryan McNeal (15-6) who mashed all three opponents at 285 in just over three minutes time.
"Ryan is very athletic, and is so quick on his feet, and has gone something like 9 or 10-0 and appears to be peaking at the right time of the season," said Cary-Grove coach Will Petersen of his senior, who transferred from Woodstock.
The LZ dynamic duo of Ian McGee (113, 31-2) and Joey Mrazek (170, 33-4) were marvelous from start to finish on Saturday, each claiming their first regional title. McGee was methodic during both of his victories via decisions, the second against unseeded Tyler Braet (Jacobs), who defeated the No. 2 and 3 seeds to ensure his first sectional appearance.
"This season has been about feeling good, and being really healthy, and now for this coming week, it's all about working hard and fine-tuning a few things for sectionals," said McGee, who lost half of the 2018 season to meniscus surgery.
Mrazek has been a pleasant surprise for the Bears' program and coach Jake Jobst as well.
"Joey is a great kid, who does a lot of volunteer work in the community, so to see him have the success this season makes be very proud," said Jobst.
Tourney host Dundee-Crown will send four into sectionals, including senior Colin Mays (36-10) after finishing up his day with a pin at 4:51 in his 152-pound final.
"To have friends, families, teachers and teammates all here to cheer me on and win a regional title makes this day really special for me, but as coach (Tim) Hayes says, it's all about taking it one match at a time, and that's my focus now, is that first one at sectionals next week," said Mays, who avenged an earlier loss to Dominic Tenyauca (Jacobs) in the semifinals.
Palatine junior Gio Jackson won the first regional title for new head coach Chris Winter when he registered his third consecutive pin on the day at 220 pounds.
"Last year I gave up my spot in the postseason to a senior, because I felt it was the right thing to do so this year I wanted to take advantage of my opportunities, and I feel like I've done that so far," said Jackson, now sporting a dazzling 26-2 record.
TJ West (26-9) helped erase a disappointing day for Buffalo Grove when the Bison senior earned the lone sectional berth for his club following his second-place finish at 220. West, who was one victory away from advancing a year ago, went 25-9 in 2018.